Geoff Foster has moved his business five miles in Greensboro, N.C., hired a totally new staff and expanded the customer base of his certified minority business enterprise.
The medical and housewares injection molder, Core Technology Molding Corp., is investing about $850,000 in capital equipment this year, up from about $187,000 in 2012.
From his research, Foster believes there are perhaps six minority-owned plastic injection molding firms in the United States. "Of these, only one has Class 10,000 clean room injection molding capabilities that medical-device manufacturing requires," he said.
Foster founded Core Technology Molding as an S corporation in August 2006, and he formed a joint venture with Bright Plastics Inc. in May 2007.
Now, however, Core and Bright are on their own.
"I dissolved the partnership in January 2013" after relocating operations to a leased, 20,000-square-foot plant in September 2012, he said. "We have been here for a year with our own assets." Foster is the sole owner, CEO and president.
Core has hired 12 employees including a Master Molder I and a Master Molder II, both certified by RJG Inc.
Filtration Technology Inc. of Greensboro installed the 800-square-foot, Class 10,000 clean room at Core's new location and certified the controlled environment under ISO 14644-1 in August. Now, the location operates two presses and one robot for high-speed automated processing involving thin-wall products.
In September, Foster acquired a 202-ton advanced all-electric Sumitomo SE180EV press with Z-molding capabilities for low-pressure filling and reduced clamp force.
In December, he added a 385-ton, all-electric Sumitomo SE350HDZ injection molding machine to supply "our newest and largest customer," the Hunters¬ville, N.C.-based consumer products division of Newell Rubbermaid Inc.
"Currently, we own one Yushin robot and are anticipating another robot this year," Foster said. In addition, he plans to order another Sumitomo SE350HDZ.
For Newell Rubbermaid, Core completed a production part-approval process in early May and immediately began shipping products, including TakeAlongs snack-food containers, to a facility in Mogadore, Ohio, for eventual distribution through retailers such as Target and Wal-Mart.
"We are running 24/7 with annual volumes around 4 million units" under a three-year Newell Rubbermaid contract, Foster said.
Core has multiple business relationships with Bausch & Lomb Inc., including production for a cataract surgery program with eight B&L-built molds. Core also supplies caps and jars to B&L under a three-year supply agreement.
Core makes a base and lid for the cornea transplant business of a new customer, Stephens Instruments of Lexington, Ky., a supplier of microsurgical instruments for ophthalmology.
Core also molds components for Novant Health Inc. of Winston-Salem, N.C.
Core uses six assembly machines to stitch contacts into plastic injection molded housings for the global automotive division of TE Connectivity Ltd. of Schaffhausen, Switzerland. TE was known as Tyco Electronics Ltd. prior to March 2011.
For a TE subsidiary, Core molds plastic parts that are delivered to a Harrisburg, Pa., electric vehicle components operation. The customer is the industrial division of Tyco Electronics Inc.'s automation and control business segment.
Core is certified as ISO 9001:2008 compliant.
Foster would not reveal the company's sales figures, but said Core will double its sales volume in 2014 compared with the current year.
Foster graduated from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro with a bachelor's degree in industrial technology and a master's in manufacturing systems.
He also holds a master's degree in business administration from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem. He is in his 10th year serving as an adjunct professor in NCA&T's undergraduate program in applied engineering technology.
In January, the Carolinas Minority Supplier Development Council of Charlotte, N.C., recognized Foster as a top North Carolina minority business professional. He received a scholarship for a week of training in business development at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H.
"The Tuck business school is helping minority business owners growing their business to scale," Foster said.